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MOISHE’S MIRACLE by Laura Krauss Melmed


A Hanukkah Story

by Laura Krauss Melmed & illustrated by David Slonim

Age Range: 4 - 8

Pub Date: Oct. 31st, 2000
ISBN: 0-688-14682-1
Publisher: HarperCollins

Here is a gratifying Hanukkah tale of the wages of selfishness. Moishe is the milkman in the poor village of Wishniak, a man admired by all for his generosity despite his own relative poverty. Admired by all but his wife Baila, that is, who thinks Moishe's magnanimity is a waste. She harps on him until he seeks refuge in the cow barn, where the cows reveal to “MOO-oishe” a magic frying pan left for him by a stranger. It will produce, simply by being placed over a stove, all the latkes—“plump as little pillows, with edges like gold lace”—anyone could eat. The only caveat is that Moishe must do the cooking. And he is happy to, feeding his hungry neighbors to boot. Baila thinks he is being a chump, so she concocts an errand for Moishe to do in a neighboring village and quickly sets up a café to sell the latkes. But the curse of the pan releases goblins that terrify Baila, and it is only the fortuitous early return of Moishe that saves her. Baila mends her ways, and though the pan will no longer produce latkes, it becomes an object of curiosity and veneration, and the pilgrims who come to gaze upon it turn the poor little village of Wishniak into a thriving little market town. A nifty parable—understated, funny, with sharp characterizations—that is atmospherically caught on the page by Slonim’s flourishing, clever art, matching the tone perfectly. (explanatory note, glossary) (Picture book. 4-8)